What Trauma is Your
Ep. 75 ft. Bree Gordon
“You are becoming what the community needs because you are taking care of yourself.”
Bree is an experienced speaker on trauma and connection. She has worked with dozens of universities, non-profit organizations and for profit businesses from around the United States including the University of Miami, the Alzheimer’s Association and the Stoneman Douglas community in Parkland, Florida. Bree has been featured in multiple national media platforms including NPR, BroadwayWorld and VeryWell. She also hosts a weekly podcast, The Mindful Mentor, focused on building a culture of self-awareness and empathy. With a degree and board certification in Music Therapy and 13 years experience working in medical and community settings, Bree is highly respected for her clinical work as well as her success in creating jobs in the field of creative arts therapies. Bree has served as the co-owner and Director of Creative Arts Therapies of the Palm Beaches since 2012, staffing and developing clinical music and art therapy programs for over 100 organizations throughout South Florida.
Bridging the gap through music, Bree Gordon joins the podcast today to discuss her experiences with music therapy, trauma-informed care, and how to recognize what your body is telling you.
If you have any comments or questions about the Be It pod shoot us a message at [email protected]. Or leave a comment below!
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In this episode you will learn about:
- How we stop living in survival mode
- Showing up even when you don’t know your next step
- Your body will tell you what’s going on
- The connection of trauma
- Being trauma-informed
- The heart of the Mindful Mentor Podcast
- Sitting and listening to others
- Mindful Mentor Podcast: https://www.mindfulbree.com/podcast
- IG @mindfulmentorbree: https://www.instagram.com/mindfulmentorbree/
- FB @mindfulmentorbree: https://www.facebook.com/mindfulbree/
- Website: mindfulbree.com
- Email: [email protected]
- Non-Profit: House of Lovezillionaires: https://www.facebook.com/houseofloveillionaires/
- The Gift of Fear: https://amzn.to/3r8eRuK
- The Body Keeps the Score … by Dr. Bessel van der Kolk: https://amzn.to/3qYkZG0
Lesley Logan 0:00
Hello, Be It Till You See It, listener. What’s up babe? How are you? Ah, I can’t wait for you to talk like hear this woman’s words. And then I have homework for you, I want you to go listen to her Mindful Mentor podcast and listen to the episode we were on in the binge out. She’s really an amazing, unique person. And, you know, definitely a be it till you see it like person, didn’t even know she’s being until she see it, saw it until she was but um, it’s there’s some great tips in here. And also we talked a lot about the trauma informed and activating and how words and sounds and things can be activating. And so I definitely, I’m excited for you to kind of hear that because I think we talked about trauma, we talk about trauma informed, but sometimes don’t always know what that means. So, I hope that this really helps give you some more information. She also gave some great resources for those who are interested in being a little bit more trauma informed in your careers because there’s different trauma informed trainings for different industries. And so definitely check that out. There’s some great books that she talked about. I have read – The Body Keeps a Score, I’m gonna reread it actually, because I read it so long ago. I think it’s time for a reread. Anyways, I’m gonna let Bree tell you who she is, and really dive into how she got to where she is. But I just want to say, just a huge thank you for you being here with your earbuds and on your walk, taking the time to let other people share their stories with you and inspire you. And one thing a little spoiler alert in there is that like it’s not easy, right? It’s not easy what you’re doing. It’s not even, it’s not even easy to say, “Yeah, you don’t have to turn on this podcast right now.” That’s actually a choice. It’s hard to do. Like you’re, you’re weighing the options of what other things you should be doing or binging out on. Or maybe you should be doing an extra hour of work. And so I just want to say thank you for making a choice to get a little dose of inspiration and hear a tip on how you can be it till you see it. So without further ado, I found out that she’s a fellow Scott woman like myself, (Lesley laughs) right before we went on. So my team had to edit out a little pre intro intro. But here she is Bree Gordon.
Lesley Logan 3:29
Welcome to the Be It Till You See It podcast where we talk about taking messy action, knowing that perfect is boring. I’m Lesley Logan, Pilates instructor and business fitness coach. I’ve trained thousands of people around the world and the number one thing I see stopping people from achieving anything is self doubt. My friends, action brings clarity and it’s the antidote to fear. Each week, my guests will bring Bold, Executable, Intrinsic and Targeted steps that you can use to put yourself first and Be It Till You See It. It’s a practice, not a perfect. Let’s get started.
Lesley Logan 3:04
Alright, Be It listeners. I have Bree Gordon here. She is a fellow Scottish family member, although I don’t know maybe related somehow. We just discovered this five seconds ago that we’re both Scottish. Um, anyways, Bree and I met because I put myself out there and I said, “I want to do a podcast swap.” And I think it’s important that you hear that because I could have totally been rejected, I could have totally heard crickets. And she’s like, “Hey, I want to do that with you. And I only have 7pm, Eastern Time. (Lesley laughs) And we’ll get into that.” So Bree, welcome to the Be It Till You See It podcast. Please tell everyone who you are. And also maybe why we only can talk at 7pm on a Tuesday.
Bree Gordon 3:41
Happy to cover all those things. First of all, thank you so much Lesley for having me on for reaching out. That is just how all this beauty is getting created right now. I feel like since we are getting back into the real world, I guess. But after coming out of a year and a half or close to two years of having to make connections in a new way like social media. I appreciate so much that you did reach out. For those with exceptional hearing, you may be already able to identify why the 7pm Eastern Standard Time is my talk time. That is the beautiful vocal jazz stylings of my seven month old that you hear in the background. So just going to go ahead and call that out for the beginning. But again, so thankful to be here. Again, my name is Bree Gordon, hence the Scottish connection we were able to tell with our last names there. I am a few different things. I am a Board Certified Music Therapist by day I guess as they say. I am a mother as we covered. I am a podcaster as well, public speaker and I have in the last two years started developing … a new LLC that helps with wellness programs as well. So my background as a Board Certified Music Therapist, and working in medical music therapy for the last 13 years, has just connected me to the realization, one, what I already knew is that music truly is not to be cliche, but truly is a universal language that can connect all of us. But in also working with so many different people from such different walks of life, different cultures, languages, ages, all the things that could divide us been able to find so many things that connect us, and so many commonalities within the human experience, which is why I have kind of expanded my view not just from music therapy, but just to wellness in general, specifically, recovering from trauma. So, I am located in South Florida, originally from Toronto, Canada, grew up in upstate New York … (Lesley: Oh, my goodness) move down to South Florida, basically just moving on and down that East Coast, you know. (Lesley laughs) Moving on down, that’s not how the song goes.
Lesley Logan 5:55
… to go all the way down to the East side, right? You’re on the East side. (Lesley laughs) (Bree: Through the East side) Oh, my gosh. (Bree: Exactly) So you know, what I love about meeting so many guests is, and maybe it’s just because like attracts like, but no one is just doing like one thing. Like there’s a couple of things that we’re doing. I think it’s because like no one is just anything. What, but I think we have to go into music therapy for trauma. Can you explain kind of what that even what does a day in that look like? And how did you get started doing that? Like, did you know that you wanted to be when you grew up?
Bree Gordon 6:27
No… Well, there’s a couple ways to answer that. I knew that I wanted to do something in music. And I knew that I was not called to be a teacher in this life. (Bree laughs) So that forced me to kind of explore other options. So back up, all the way to being a young kiddo. My mom and I moved to the States, when I was three, my mom worked as a CNA in a nursing home. And being a single parent, and I was only I am an only child, there was not always a lot of childcare options. So like days that I didn’t have, you know, daycare or school, I’d be going to work with mom. And so mom tells me I don’t have clear memories of this exactly. But being in the forum of the nursing home as a three year old, holding court and (Lesley laughs) just singing in my little heart out. And I remember my grandma took me to a high school production of Fiddler on the Roof. And I’ll just be honest, I come from where I grew up in New York, you know, it was a part Scottish part Dutch, like group Dutch Reformed and everybody around me was a Dutch farmer. And everybody looks the same and talk the same and worship the same. And so Fiddler on the Roof was a very odd choice for the local high school to do but it was my first Broadway show. And I remember looking at it and saying, “I want that. I want to do what they’re doing. I want to be that free on a stage. I want to step into a new role and be a new person.” At like five, I (Lesley: Yeah) was just like connected with that. So we had these home videos of me doing if I were rich man in my front yard, like (Lesley laughs) this is how I would entertain. Well, I didn’t realize truly that this was such an exceptional experience to be so comfortable with people outside of your generation, outside of your own life experience until later in life. So when I started to look up options for careers in music, and realize music therapy was one of them. I had been working for my mom and my mom was working in homecare private home duty at the time, so would help her out. So I knew I wanted to help people and I knew I want to be in music. So I went to school for music therapy and everybody wanted to be with the kids. Everyone wanted to do early education, you know, sit on the floor with the kids and play music and I did not again feel called to that. So I didn’t realize how special it was that I already knew how to bridge this gap between myself and someone different than me through music. So, I started doing all the senior placements and I did like geriatric psych psychology, locked unit, hospice care all these things, eventually ended up moving to South Florida for an internship in hospice care, and worked in that field for seven years. And then went into private practice and started working in Oncology and with seniors with alzheimer’s, dementia, all these things. Fast forward to 2018 when we had the tragic shooting here in Parkland (Lesley: Yeah) at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. And, so I volunteered my time and got a team together to join our art therapists in the area to just create a space for (Lesley: Yeah) this community. They had like two, 10 days to two weeks off of school. So for the students, the parents, siblings, all that to come and have a space to just be, to just create, to feel safe, to feel supported. And out of that I was hired to work with the students for the next few years. So I’ve done a lot of programming. Through that work …
Lesley Logan 9:50
That’s … I’m so sorry to interrupt. (Bree: Yeah) That’s interesting because I was looking over your bio, and I’m like, “How did you end up with trauma?” And it’s because trauma happened in your like backyard.
Bree Gordon 10:01
Literally. I mean, people say that right? It’s our backyard. This was before we even knew what was going on. My staff was calling me, “Hey, I can’t get to the site, the roads are blocked, I see all these flashing lights, I see all these media vans, I see helicopters. I can’t get to, you know, the afterschool program for kiddos with on the autism spectrum that’s just down the road.” So before we even knew what had happened, before we would turn on the television, (Lesley: Yeah) I’m getting you know, calls from my staff, “There’s something’s big going on. I can’t get to work.” So once I started doing this work and studying more about trauma informed music therapy, and basically what that means is that trauma informed is a lens in which you treat through. So knowing that sounds that images, that references, that things can be activating. And I purposely use activating instead of triggering, because I work so much with gun violence survivors, we try to avoid any language, I… again just want to mention the seven month old in the background … (Lesley laughs) just in case you missed the top of this podcast, that’s what’s happening in the background. (Lesley laughs) And so anything that you are bringing in which music lyrics can be very activating, right? The sounds of drums being (Lesley: Yeah) hidden or activating, so having that lens in the education before walking into a room is really important. So through that work, I realized, well, I’ve been doing that all along. My seniors in hospice care and my memory care groups, are World War II, (Lesley: Yeah) you know, active war, active duty ward veterans, Holocaust survivors, again, I live in South Florida, we have the largest amount of hospice, (I’m sorry) Holocaust survivors in our community, then I think anywhere other than New York City, for the United States. I work in addiction recovery, a lot of early childhood or adverse childhood experiences, that are traumatic that they have survived. So this whole time in my career, I really have been focused on working with individuals who survived a trauma. Well, not only that, but then expand the worldview even further, which has led me into my newer project of The Mindful Mentor is, that’s all of us. (Lesley: Yeah) That’s not just someone I’m going to meet in a medical setting, that is all of us. And with COVID, we have all experienced collective trauma.
Lesley Logan 12:22
Oh, I mean, that’s and that’s interesting thing I have, I have my therapist coming into my fitness business coaching group. At the time that we’re recording this, it’s like in two weeks. So when you hear this, everyone will have happened. But the reason I’m bringing her in this time is to actually talk about how we have to stop living in survival mode, because COVID caused every business owner, cause every person to go into survival mode, that’s a great mode. But it’s like a fifth gear, you’re not supposed to live in it, like it’s not good. On the engine, it’s not good on the mechanic. It’s not good, right? Like you would never do that your car. But I see all these business owners, I see all these women, especially like in this survival mode. And that is also traumatic to like, it’s you, you just don’t see things happening in the same way that they are when you’re in that mode versus when you’re not in that mode. So I have her coming in. But you’re you made this excellent point that we’ve had this collective trauma. And I guess, like, I’m … for the first time doing a training that is a trauma informed training, it’s a trauma informed breathwork training. It’s actually really interesting for me, because, you know, you hear these things, you can be activating towards people, or using the word that’s commonly used, like you could trigger someone. And it makes a lot of people go, “Well, then what do I do and how do I do this? And then how do I act?” And then it’s like, “Oh, how do I be it till I see it? If I, like good actually accidently do this?” And so it’s like, how, how do you, you know, you went into the space in 2018. Without really like, it’s like you had ever worked with a situation like that in the past? So how did you do that? And how, and like, is there any, maybe there’s a way we can all like, learn something through your experience? When when it comes to like, how do you act in a place that you don’t know how to act or how to do or how to heal?
Bree Gordon 14:06
That’s, that’s a really great question. And actually, so fitting to your show that I didn’t even think about beforehand, because truly, that’s what I was doing. I didn’t even know I’ve never heard of trauma informed at that point, to be honest with you. So, I was being it till I saw it, and that in that moment. And what that led to was actually partnering up eventually with our music therapist, who’s been working with the children in Sandy Hook, and then Connecticut. And then we were able to give trainings at our national conferences. But before I got to that point where I’m helping others, I’m thinking, “Gosh, this is totally,” and again, at the moment, I really did think fresh and new and I’ve never done anything like this before. So I had to just show up, right? First of all, I had to know if I was the right person, if I truly could not handle this. It was there was a transference issue, meaning that there was something coming up that was too strong within myself, that I was not able to be present for the students, then I needed to find another therapist that could do that. So there is a point where you’re not always going to be the best fit for every situation … (Lesley: Right) But and this one, it did feel comfortable for me to be involved in. I was able to set not set aside my feelings, but just kind of honor what it was coming up in me and then address that in the appropriate place, which meant going to trauma informed therapy for myself, honestly, to be aware of what was coming up with me. Working in this, is is heavy, right? These are students who have survived an extremely traumatic event, they are wanting to walk through it with you through song lyric, through a discussion, whatever way that comes up through music, whatever way it is. And as the therapist you need to know how to be present, first and foremost, and second, know how to handle what’s coming up for you. So I was really fortunate that I had a team of therapists that I worked with. So we were meeting for supervision like one to two hours every day, that was a total luxury. I’ve never had that anywhere else in my career, that I had that much time built into a contractor, to a salary that I can debrief and process. So …
Lesley Logan 16:13
So you yourself, were going to a session to debrief and process what your day was like.
Bree Gordon 16:20
Right. So when we were doing what started as a summer camp. So we’re working with the students like 30 hours a week through the summer. The summer camp started in June, the shooting happened in February. (Lesley: Yeah) So this was, this was not PTSD. This was T, (Lesley: Yeah) capital T happening in the moment. So all of us therapists would get together at the end of the day and would process through. And then by the end of those six weeks, I started to realize that I was the only one of them not in therapy for myself. So then I went to get that additional work done. And I’ll tell you what, it’s amazing, be it till you see it kind of show up again, being present first and foremost, being supported, knowing that you have a support network around you. But then you really do you have to be accountable for that. Because for me, second summer, third summer comes around, I get to the end of the summer, and I’m just not feeling good. And and this was I started out this is a pattern every time I get to the end of the summer, my back is totally out of whack. I think we talked about this on (Lesley: Yeah) my show too, your body will let you know (Lesley: Yeah) what’s up. Right? So, I had thought, “Well, I went to therapy and I talked about this. I process to this. I’m good.” (Lesley: Yeah) Right? …
Lesley Logan 17:33
I feel like anyone listens like, “Oh, yeah, I’ve been there.” And like, “I did that I already. Checked, checked” (Lesley laughs)
Bree Gordon 17:37
I did … No, no, I took care of that, like I already did that. So not feeling good, not feeling good. Suddenly, I’m like walking with a cane. Not not terribly normal for someone in their early 30s. I go into see a doctor, and they said, “Where you in a car accident? You have three herniated discs.” (Lesley: What?) I’m like, “Nope, I hosted or I lead a trauma camp.” And I didn’t get any help for myself through it. And now this is my third year doing it. So I know better, right? But I have to stay accountable for it. So I’m not sure, I feel like that does kind of lead into the be it till you see it because clearly I am not it yet. I’m still learning (Lesley: Yeah) so gotta show up and constantly keep learning freeze up, the advocating freeze up, listening to your body. And the when you are doing that you are becoming what those students need. You are becoming what that community needs because you are also taking care of yourself.
Lesley Logan 18:32
Yeah. Well, and I think like, you know, because I always say like, “Take messy action.” It doesn’t mean like be irrational or erratic or crazy, unplanned like, it sounds like you had never done this before. But you actually did the work to go, “Am I the right person for this? Is my team, the right people for this?” What do we have to do to get through this, we can support them and not actually make it worse for them? But then you also just did it. And and and then you learned while doing to the end of the summer, you’re like, “Wow, learn something about myself. I have to add one more thing to this list of things to do.” And I think I think a lot of people get stuck on that because if they don’t know, the roadmap, they don’t know all the parts, they haven’t seen all the way through, then they don’t actually get started. And especially with something like this. Like, I do think a lot of people have seen something bad happens in their community or they’re like, “Oh my gosh, I want to know how to I want to help but I don’t know how to help.” And I guess like, you know you in that moment, there was something in your head that was like, “I think we can help here.” And I guess do do is it something you can pinpoint or is it just a feeling?
Bree Gordon 19:37
It’s a good question, because I like I started this conversation saying, “I didn’t want to work with kids.” Right? (Lesley: Yeah) (Lesley laughs) (Lesley: You also had a kid …) I didn’t know at the time … (Lesley: Yeah) What what an absolute joy of having a child could be. Now I know. But at the … I just I want to work with my seniors the rest of my life. I just I love working with, you know, neurodegenerative diseases, which sounds like a really weird thing to say. But I do, I love bringing joy and feelings of success and positivity and accomplishment to those that have cognitive decline. So this was an opportunity that I was like actively seeking ever before. And I would usually refer it out to other people in the community that I thought would be better fits. I almost wonder if it was a strong personal connection. I’m a trauma survivor, as a child myself. Part of that is complicated grief, losing my dad at a young age, it wasn’t to anything violent as this would be. But I believe that there is a connection within trauma, (Lesley: Yeah) that if you have experienced something you have experienced, especially as a child, the feeling of being completely out of control of the world happening around you. (Lesley: Yeah) And just this constant yearning for grounding. (Lesley: Yeah) And for a strengthened a sense of self and for connection and identified with all of those things. Now, obviously, I’m not going to say have been through what those kids have been through, I haven’t. But I could connect with that feeling of needing those things. So I do think it was something in myself and again, I go back to listening to yourself, (Lesley: Listening to your … ) listening to your body, your mind, your heart, your intuition, your gut. It’s I mean, I don’t know about everybody here. I don’t know everyone’s gut intimately, obviously. (Lesley and Bree laughs) But mine has led me to some amazing opportunities that on paper, I would have said no to.
Lesley Logan 21:44
Oh, I mean, you’re there’s this great book called The Gift of Fear. It is who is it, who is it -Gavin de Becker. And actually, just because the world is so small, I actually taught a woman how to teach Pilates who might be listening to this podcast whose husband worked works with Gavin de Becker’s company, it’s a security firm, and he was in trauma when he was a child. And he, his life experience led him to actually be able to see and understand when people are actively going to do what they threatened to do, or when they’re just a little bit off. Right? Or a lot off, but not actually going to act on it. So he’s worked with the FBI and the CIA, all the things, right. And he has a security firm. He wrote a book called The Gift of Fear. And his whole thing is, every single one of us, our gut is telling us what is happening? Do we feel safe in this moment? Is this person a good person? Should we trust this person? Like it literally is, it has these receptors. It so amazing, but our brain is like, “Oh, you’re being judgmental or you don’t know like, he seems like a really nice person. He’s got nice clothes on, like, all these things.” Oh, you know, all this stuff and our logic, our brain is like, trying to talk us out of out of our gut is saying, but like, logic will fail you most of the time where your gut is pretty on and it’s not and it’s okay to go with that. So the book is really dense and it’s really interesting. And I highly recommend it, especially my ladies listening to this because it really is informative as far as like, what it means to be like protective of yourself, and also like a little over protective, like, “What it does that mean?” Right? And then you also made me think of the book like, “What Happened to You?” which is a some amazing research they’ve done on trauma on like, infants, you know, we think that babies don’t have memories before three o’clock, three o’clock, three, three years old, three o’clock, before … 3pm. They have no … (Lesley laughs)
Bree Gordon 23:31
My baby did not to remember any of this becuase here it’s still 2:30 … (Lesley: Yeah) (Lesley laughs) So, it’s fine.
Lesley Logan 23:35
3 years old, but the reality is, is that they have found and they study people long enough to know that if even under in three, your first three months, you’ve had something traumatic, it really does affect, you’re life.
Bree Gordon 23:45
Your birth experience (Lesley: Oh) is traumatic. (Lesley: Yeah) I mean, it’s … in addition to all this other stuff, I’m working through an online training and play therapy. And it’s neuro relational, child centered play therapy, and a lot of it is on trauma. And the memories that they find these children even reenacting, like their birth experience, even at four or five years old. (Lesley: Whoa) Yeah, there was one story in the training where one of the child came in the room. And one of the things about play therapy, particularly this model. Is you don’t intervene. I mean, you have to keep it safe in the room, but you’re not guiding the play. It’s truly the child is expressing themselves through the place, you don’t want to really parameters around it. And so this child found in like a beanbag chair, an opening in just a small hole and found their way into the beanbag chair, and then became very emotional upon interacting or, sorry, playing out, coming out of the beanbag chair. And what she realized when talking to the parent was that there was a traumatic birth experience. Now this is like a four or five year old …
Lesley Logan 24:54
That’s so crazy, that’s amazing and crazy. It’s like …
Bree Gordon 24:56
It’s incredible, right? (Lesley: Yeah) And I don’t think I’ll ever forget that story because you know, as a clinician, but now also, as a parent, I’m thinking you can go crazy thinking about, “Are you gonna remember this. Did I just ruin you?” Like, “How much am I going to pay for therapy for this?” (Lesley laughs)
Lesley Logan 25:10
You know, I think I think today’s parents who are very aware of therapy are very much aware of like, “Oh my God, how much is this bill gonna cost? Like, I just help them.” Whereas like I don’t know. You and I are a lot the same age. Like, “I don’t think our parents worry about therapy. I’m being honest.” (Lesley laughs)
Bree Gordon 25:25
The first time, my stepson came home and he won’t listen to this. So we’re fine. But he comes home. And, and I nursing my baby. And you know, he’s 18. Right? And the poor kid, didn’t ask for any of this, he’s super sweet. He’s like our babysitter, extraordinary and they have the best relationship. But he walks in the house, and I’m just like, “I can’t even afford what I’m gonna have to pay for this later in life. I’m so sorry. (Lesley laughs) Like, this is (Lesley: Yeah) just your life now. We just (Lesley: Yeah) my boobs out. I apologize.” (Lesley and Bree laughs)
Lesley Logan 25:52
Oh, you know, what I do find though, it’s like, men with like, younger siblings or sisters are a lot easier around women as they’re older women who, especially if they end up marrying a woman, I think everything’s a little less weird, (Lesley laughs) more normal. So, I think it’s, you know, I think it’s good for him. (Lesley laughs)
Bree Gordon 26:09
For the sensitive that comes along with it, for sure.
Lesley Logan 26:11
Yeah. But also, you know, like, it’s, um, I, when I see people freak out, this has nothing to do this podcast … But like, some of the angry anger fights me the most, is when I see those people who get upset at someone breastfeeding in public. But then they’re the same due to oogle and I’ll go over girl wearing a too low cut of a top. And it’s like, I just, I’m really starting to I’m really confused. You don’t like it when they’re out? But you do, like … (Lesley laughs)
Bree Gordon 26:36
Also, did you just not get cow’s milk in your coffee, cafe latte, (Lesley: Yeah) whatever. I mean, like, I know, and I didn’t get it until I was in this experience. I was just kind of like, “Oh, whatever. I didn’t really have an opinion about it.” And I’m like, “No, this is actually the most (Lesley: Yeah) natural normal thing.” Anyway that’s a whole other podcast.
Lesley Logan 26:51
… whole another another thing. So okay, I want to talk a bit about, I want to definitely get into what led you into your own podcast, but before then, for people who are intrigued by trauma, trauma therapy, being trauma informed? Is it as easy as googling like trauma informed trainings near me? Or (Lesley laughs) is there like, is there a book list or a site or place on your site where people can get this information? I just want to make sure that people who are intrigued by being trauma informed, because it does, it does. It is freeing when you actually understand it a bit more than when you just hear like, “Oh, your actions could trigger something or activate something.” (Bree: Right) Like, you know, especially for the … let me just explain we Pilates instructors listen to this a lot. And they touch people. (Bree: Yeah) And when they hear (Bree: Yeah) like, “Oh, make sure you don’t, you could, if you don’t touch ..” If you touch them in a class that wasn’t expecting it that could be activating or triggering. Like, it makes them go, “Am I allowed to touch? I’m allowed to do?” And I I have found in doing this trauma informed training, even though it’s a breathwork training, that I have a lot more since I have awareness around it, I also have a little bit more freedom. I’m like, “What is acceptable and what isn’t? And how do you work with that?” And so where can people go who are intrigued by this and ready to learn more?
Bree Gordon 28:01
For sure. First of all, awareness and informed implies curiosity. Right? And the best place to begin your curiosity is just asking your patient or your client, “Are you comfortable with this? How does this make you feel? Can I do this?” I think I am going to give you some great resources in addition to that, but really, each person is unique, their trauma experience is unique, they’re going to have different responses to it. So I would say treating as a very individualistic experience, is is just a great way to start before you can read the books and do the trainings and all of that. As far as books go – The Absolute Bible on Trauma Informed Care is the Body Keeps the Score … by Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, the Dutch Dutch name … (Lesley laughs) fabulous resource, if you’re going back to Heritage’s today, (Lesley: Yeah) that is just a great place to start. And it it connects to so much of what you’ve already been talking about with the focus on touch and on breath. And on knowing your own body because it’s true, it is stored just in my and that’s why I tell you my story about herniating the discs in my back because I could go and like I said, I’ve traveled all over the country talking about this. And yet that is still happening to me. So we can read all the resources in the world being aware of your own body because it’s true that our body does keep the score of what we have experienced, what our emotions have experiences, what we physically experienced, psychologically, all of that. (Lesley: Yeah) Beyond that for trainings, I would say to look into something specific to whatever your industry is. So there’s not going to be like a one stop shop for trauma informed. So for myself, we have a training for music therapy, for Pilates, like you mentioned, there’s a training for breathwork, things like that, even if you’re in the corporate world. I’ve seen that there are corporate training for being an employer that is trauma informed, which I think is brillant. (Lesley: Wow, that’s amazing) I love that. Yes. So even if you’re just in the you’re not in a helper profession or therapy or anything like that, as a professional, but you’re in the corporate world, financial marketing, whatever that looks like, I think marketing actually isn’t a great area to be trauma and perfect. (Lesley laughs) (Lesley: Yeah, I think so) Right? Just think about your messaging and what you’re actually promoting. And well, how to do it, how the best way to do it in a sensitive way. So but like I said, just for getting started today for make, making one trauma informed decision today, after you stop listening to this podcast, if there’s someone in your circle, a family, friend, community member, client, patient, whatever it is, that you have that concern with, that you think that they might be activated in a way, ask them, (Lesley: Yeah) you know, talk to them. Find out from them personally, and I’ll be willing to bet just making that step of that awareness and curiosity and, and compassion to to connect with them. You’re already going to start bridging that gap, (Lesley: Yeah) without taking it even a step further.
Lesley Logan 31:02
I agree. I think that’s, you know, and also, something that is easier to do. Not easy. But is it as easy as that is like, if people are talking about how they’re feeling, you can also just listen. You don’t have to actually like, you don’t have to agree, you don’t have to ask, you have to say, “I see that in you as well.” You don’t have to, like you could just like if they can just, they can just talk and you can just sit there with your eyes open and hold the space. And then you can can ask them, “Do you need more time?” And if they’re like, “Yeah,” then they can keep going. If they don’t, they’ll go, “Okay.” And then you can, you can also just move you can keep going, right? So I think like people are like, “Oh, I have to have a conversation with them.” And, and one of the things that we’re doing is like, being a feeler and like, it’s kind of amazing when you just let someone talk about how they’re feeling. And then you don’t say anything. And then we ask if they want to pop out question, which is like, “What’s your favorite color or whatever?” And, you know, like, it kind of brings it back. But it’s kind of amazing like, if you just let people feel what they’re feeling. It doesn’t keep, it doesn’t have to keep going. The feeling can have its moment and it can pass like a cloud, you know, not that it’s over. But there’s some interesting things with that. I think we can all learn like little bits, until because you know, everyone has their own thing. And I think a lot of people listening are to be all or nothing. It doesn’t mean you have to go all the way today. But you can start with curiosity and asking, and I love that tip. Thank you for sharing that. Okay, so you have a podcast – Mindful Mentor? (Bree: Yeah) I’ve been on it, y’all. It was a frickin’ great conversation. So you’re gonna go listen to that.
Bree Gordon 32:29
You’re awesome. (Lesley laughs) Yes, yes, yes, you are. Let me just say, we’re not going to say, “We invite you.” No, you have to (Lesley: Yeah) go because Lesley you’re incredible. And you just, you brought so much… just clever wisdom. I don’t know if you’ve ever been told you have clever wisdom before. But that is how I walk away from this, I just, I felt renewed as an interviewer even just talking to you, and just as a person. So I just want to thank you and honor you again for your gifts you gave to The Mindful Mentor, because everyone who listens will be blessed by that. Thank you.
Lesley Logan 33:00
Well, words of affirmations, my love language and clever wisdom is going in the next bio. So (Lesley laughs) (Bree: Done) we’re gonna, (Bree: Yeah) we’re gonna put that in there. I’m always looking for new, new words to go in there. So what made you start a podcast? Because as someone who started one, it is a lot of work, that (Bree: Yeah) you maybe are like, “I talk, I do lives all the time. Just gonna do this.” And then you’re like, “Wow, there’s there’s some steps in here.” (Lesley laughs) (Bree: Yup) So (Bree: Yeah), what made you start it and what are you excited about with it right now?
Bree Gordon 33:29
Yeah, thank you. So my background was in live radio, which I started as kind of a marketing arm of my creative arts therapy practice, which is Creative Arts Therapies, the Palm Beaches. And so we staff and develop music and art therapy programs for medical and educational and community based programs. So we were kind of using the radio show as a way to interview different individuals in the community, but also outside in the national, sometimes even international people to call in and interview about creative approaches to healthcare and to education. So (Lesley: That’s so cool) anyone who had kind of, yeah, was really neat, a different like, out of the box idea of how to reach people, because as we talked about everybody is is individual. So sometimes programs that are so structured, aren’t going to meet everyone’s needs. So I did that for several years, and I loved it. But then I kind of wanted the experience of trying to do something a little bit more flexible on my own and trying to produce it myself. And so that’s that’s the journey I’m in now. And it is a lot of work, I will say that but it’s doable. I have do not have any kind of formal audio tech training. I’m just smart enough to know when to delegate things (Lesley and Bree laughs) to other people, the things that I cannot do. I love interviewing, I love putting out content. So I just I kind of took a break from it for a little while, and then I’m going to go back to a point that I made earlier. So the work that I did was Stoneman Douglas. Like I said that kind of have renewed my energy as far as seeking out opportunities to do trauma informed work. So I reached out to a community here close to, like I said, I’m in West Palm Beach, Florida. So one of the communities here, Riviera Beach has an extremely high rates of gun violence, and especially a lot of young individuals dying from gun violence. So it’s not a community that’s been rocked by a school shooting, it’s a community that’s rocked by every time they leave school and walk home. (Lesley: Yeah) And that that is a persistent daily fear. So I kind of reached out to the community there. And I’ve made some incredible friends from that, that I just, I just can’t even tell you how these women have blessed my life. But somehow I just divine intervention ended up in the lives of these women who are leading this impact this intervention for young women and young men to be supported in environments so that they know they have other options, that they they don’t have to feel the pressures to go into gang life (Lesley: Yeah) or into drugs or if they’re survivors of violence, survivors of sexual trauma that they have some who believe them,who will listen to them and to break these generational ties into just build up and just breathe life into this community. I can’t say enough about it’s House of Loveillionaires, if you want to check out a nonprofit doing that work. And the vision on Sabrina …
Lesley Logan 36:22
Can you say it again? House of Lovezillionaires? … (Bree: ah, close Loveillionaires) Loveillionaires. Oh, I love that.
Bree Gordon 36:30
So Sabrina Harris is the executive director of that nonprofit, and she got a calling, you know, from from God, that’s her faith, that said, “Build a house with a million rooms, you know, for people to just love on them.” And so she started this nonprofit, she’s a licensed mental health counselor, they do a lot of community outreach programs. So, I met with them a few times, and, you know, did some programs together for for the women in that community. And as we’re sitting in this room, and I was the only white person in this room, and so they trust me and bring me into (Lesley: Right) their community. I didn’t live there, to trust that I had good intentions that I was going to stick around. But it wasn’t just going to say, “Hey, I want to help” and then take off, (Lesley: Right) I felt the warmth of that. And then hearing everyone’s experience, I again, could connect it to so much that I had experienced as a child, not the same. I know that I didn’t have the same situation. And I was also very aware of certain privileges that I had because of my skin color in that moment. But some of the things that they were sharing, I could connect to, and I’ll never forget sitting in this room having a conversation on couches, just kind of fireside chat style, and thinking, “These are stories that need to be (Lesley: Told. Yeah) elevated in the community, these these need to be told.” And not only the stories need to be told, but the stories of empathy of how people are responding to each other throughout this, how they are aware of it themselves. Because it’s one thing to experience something, but to never share it, to never acknowledge it in yourself to let it just sit. And hey, again, spoiler alert, that’s what’s gonna affect your body. Right? (Lesley: Yeah) And then when you share it, it’s like a lifeline, you toss out for someone else to say, “I really needed to hear that. I’m going through that too.” And that’s how that community and empathy grows as well. So yeah, I just I wanted to take the work that I’ve been doing, which made me aware of my my life, really, and all the things (Lesley: Yeah) that I had kind of shoved down and not been (Lesley: Yeah) acknowledging for myself. And because I think it took being in a moment where I was with individuals that if you had taken a snapshot, you would see all the differences, quite honestly, if you had really dug in, you would see all the things that connected us.
Lesley Logan 38:50
Oh, that is so beautiful. And I think that has, I think that’s really a lot of moments. I think, like, face value, it’s like, how are these people all together, but like, if you go on the deeper scale of like, cellular level of experiences and emotions, there’s so much that actually does bring us together and in listening to each other, it has so much healing, you know, opportunities and, and without that, then there’s really no way that you can do anything that’s next. Right? Like as you I mean, we all know like, if … I mean we go to Cambodia, a lot people are shocked by like how family members can treat their children or have their children do different things. And it’s like, when you don’t know how you’re eating your next meal. You’re not actually thinking about the, the elevating of your child. You’re not like if the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, (Bree: It’s just gonna say yeah) it is a real thing. And so when people you know, I had a client who is frustrated with like some crime in her area, and I’m like, “You have to understand, if they don’t feel that their needs are being met on a very basic level. They’re not seeing the other people as anything other than an opportunity for them to survive.”And I think that like, it is so important for us to, to understand that but I think it’s really beautiful, how you let your your curiosity and your gut and also your willingness to listen and be empathetic to others kind of guide you into what’s going to be next for you. And I, it’s really beautiful. I’ve learned … I’ve learned so many things in this conversation and I, I want to have more of them, I hope that people are as inspired as I am to be like, wow, you don’t, you don’t have to be the most expert person to just be in the room and sit down and like, listen, just and be there.
Bree Gordon 40:34
And I think another point to mention, too, and I think anyone who’s committed to this idea of be it till you see it is aware of it on some level. But that doesn’t make this easy (Lesley laughs). Like it was not easy or comfortable for me to be in a room. Again, I look different than everyone else in the room, I’m an outsider in the community, I’m coming in to say I want to help with something that I really have never truly experienced myself. And then in the middle of that, I’m feeling all of these things about myself (Lesley: Right) and my own personal trauma. And the easy thing would have been to run out of that room, never addressed what came up for me and really removed myself from that community. So I became acutely aware of the fact that I had more work to do on me, so that I could show up for others. And there was a choice there. And that’s kind of my new like mission with The Mindful Mentor that I’m promoting a lot is that everything we do is a choice. (Lesley: Yeah) These are all just dots, we have to make one choice to connect the dots, and bad choices or dots too, right. So it really determines what image we’re going to create from one choice to the other. And so it’s not always the easy choice to show up in that way. And to show up as your authentic self. It does require some work, but it’s worth it. (Lesley: Yeah) So worth it.
Lesley Logan 41:59
It’s so beautiful. We’re gonna find out how we can listen to your podcast and find out more about you?
Bree Gordon 42:05
Yeah, absolutely. The Mindful Mentor, you can find us on Apple, Spotify, Pandora, or everywhere that you like to listen to your podcasts. And check me out on Instagram @mindfulmentorbree or on Facebook at The Mindful Mentor. Website is mindfulbree.com. Yes, (Lesley: Yeah) that’s correct. (Lesley and Bree laughs) And then email is [email protected]
Lesley Logan 42:27
Amazing, amazing the team we’ll put that all in the show notes. It’s like really easy click and and just let her know, takeaways and how this felt or just what it brought up for you. What you know, I love that you brought up, it’s not easy to be it till you see it. I also think it’s not like I think a lot of people could hear your story and think, “Wow, that’s gonna be so rewarding to work with people like that and help them do this.” But also like, it’s really heavy. And and, you know, it’s not like you go home every day with a badge that goes, “I helped people today,” you know. (Bree: Can I have a cookie now? I helped people today.) Yeah, so um, so I just want to say thank you for being someone who does that. There are people like you in this world who are doing that is amazing work. And it is very necessary because I think so many things that we’re all going through is because of trauma unattended, unseen, un untaking care of and I don’t know I mean, maybe that’s the wrong choice words. I don’t know that it gets taken care of, it just becomes something that you understand in your body. And so you can handle …
Bree Gordon 43:33
Learn how to cope with it. Yeah, exactly, build that resiliency.
Lesley Logan 43:36
Yeah, yeah. So anyways, okay. I ask everybody how, what are some be it till you see it tips to prioritize yourself? So (Bree: Yeah) how, like, what do you think it can be one, it could be three, whatever your, what’s come up for you?
Bree Gordon 43:50
Absolutely. Honestly, the first thing that comes to mind for me, and I’m just going to stop at one because it’s it’s a big one. It’s a big one is figure out what lies and this is going to be trauma specific. That’s a lot of what we talked about (Lesley: Yeah) today. If you are someone who has experienced a trauma, big T, little T, it’s yours. It’s your experience. You don’t have to compare it to anybody else’s. Figure out what your life looks like on the other side of that. This is going to do a couple things for you. Right? It’s going to allow you to expand your worldview of not just there’s a mountain right in front of me, I’m standing at the base of it. I don’t know how to get to the top. I want you to imagine what is on the other side of it before you even take that first step to get over it because you will, you absolutely will and all of that will come in between but just figuring out what life looks like on the other side of that for you. What are you… you can call it whatever you want. You’d like New Year’s resolutions you can call it that. Your goals, your aspirations, whatever that looks like for you, but you just have to imagine, it’s not that the trauma doesn’t exist. But with that, with experience in my life, what does life look like on the other side of it? And then you’ll have that encouragement to move through it, to grow through it, because you will, you will get through it, you will go through it. But it’s a little less motivating. We can’t see how beautiful and sweet life is, once we get to the other side.
Lesley Logan 45:22
Oh, I think that’s so beautiful because it’s true. I mean, like, it makes me, I mean I also think like goals, visions, everything. Like, if you can’t picture what it’s going to be like, it’s really hard to go through the hard stuff, because (Bree: Yeah) you’re like, “When (Bree: What’s the point?) is this gonna end? What (Bree: Right) is the point? Why am I doing this? It was easier just to live through the other way.” You know, and it is like going through big T, little T trauma or just going through any goal in general. It’s not easy. I don’t know who (Bree: Yeah) told you is going to be but it’s not. And then you know, but if you know what sweetness is at the end, as you mentioned, it does, it does give you a little bit more drive, it gives you a little bit more incentive, a little bit more reason to take that next step. Yeah.
Bree Gordon 46:07
And it gives you that that downward slope on the other side of the mountain, the easier side, right. Like, otherwise, you’re just still climbing and it’s exhausting and it’s hard. And part of that climb is involved for sure. But we want to see, we want to see what that that other side when that dreams in sight looks like.
Lesley Logan 46:24
So beautiful. Bree, thank you so much for being here and sharing your words and your journey. I think it’s really inspiring. I’m, yeah, I, amazing. And everyone please listen to The Mindful Mentor podcast. Um, you can, you can start with our episode. So you know, you know the voices, (Bree: Yeah) but then binge out because (Bree: A great initiation) I think you’re gonna learn. Yeah, I think you’re gonna, I think you’re going to be inspired by so many. So grateful for you being here. And I’m grateful for everyone who’s listening because because of you podcasters like Bree and I exist, like if no one’s listening. We kind of are just talking … (Lesley laughs)
Bree Gordon 46:58
We just talk to each other and listen to it and repeat.
Lesley Logan 47:00
It’s like long phone call. (Lesley laughs) Very formal phone call. Anyways, I am so grateful for you. Please do us a favor, screenshot this. Tag us with your takeaways. Tag us with what inspirations came out of this. And you know, even if you just text it to a friend who needs to hear this has had curiosity in that way that is also amazing. But we do love seeing your takeaways, what, what landed for you, and until next time, Be It Till You See It.
That’s all I’ve got for this episode of the Be It Till You See It podcast! One thing that would help both myself and future listeners is for you to rate this show and leave a review. And, follow or subscribe for free wherever you listen to podcasts. Also, make sure to introduce yourself over at the @be_it_pod on Instagram! I would love to know more about you. Share this episode with whoever you think needs to hear it. Help us help others to BE IT TILL YOU SEE IT. Have an awesome day!
‘Be It Till You See It’ is a production of ‘As The Crows Fly Media’.
It’s written, produced, filmed and recorded by your host, Lesley Logan and me, Brad Crowell. Our Associate Producer is Amanda Frattarelli.
Kevin Perez at Disenyo handles all of our audio editing.
Our theme music is by Ali at APEX Production Music. And our branding by designer and artist, Gianfranco Cioffi.
Special thanks to our designer Jaira Mandal for creating all of our visuals (which you can’t see because this is a podcast) and our digital producer, Jay Pedroso for editing all video each week so you can.
And to Angelina Herico for transcribing each of our episodes so you can find them on our website. And, finally to Meridith Crowell for keeping us all on point and on time.
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